Sharing my children with my abuser during the holiday season is gut wrenching hard. As the weekend before Christmas approaches, once again I lose my children to join his family’s traditional Christmas weekend get together.
Co-parenting with my Abusive Ex-husband
It’s hard for me to argue to let me keep the children; it’s not like I have any family traditions to join in on. My entire adult life was focused on my abuser’s family’s traditions so going through our child custody arrangement during the divorce it never occurred to me that this weekend prior to Christmas needed to change. Painfully (and now reluctantly,) I gave the weekend prior to Christmas to my abuser to spend with the kids in the child custody agreement.
I struggled a lot during the early years after the divorce with this bible verse: Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
How exactly does creating a peacemaking environment look like with my abuser during this holiday season? More importantly, how do I show my children what this verse means? I can’t just tell them, showing them is so much more valuable.
And yet, what do I get in return for being nice and supportive during this holiday season? Expensive gifts to my children excitedly brought back to my place? Pieces of grandma’s cake that used to be my favorite dessert brought back to my refrigerator with my kids telling me how much I used to love this! Or my painfully favorite, gushing, over the top “I love you” Christmas cards from their dad and step-mom shoved deep into my children’s bags in such a way that I was bound to see them when I unpacked their bags. Ugh. Feels like daggers are continuously stabbing my heart.
Looking back, how did I manage to get through those lonely weekends prior to Christmas knowing the Sunday night would be horrible as they returned to me in their tired state?
I cried a lot which helped release the built-up anxiety.
I ate a lot of ice cream (which really doesn’t help long term but was a temporary filler).
And I boldly prayed for God to get me through the painful day. And you know what I remember the most years later?
When I reunite with my children this Sunday night, I will hug them tight and focus more on their confusion and pain than mine. As I hold back the harsh words, I will focus internally for the Holy Spirit to counter any lies my abuser sends back with the kids. I will push through my anxiety knowing it will be another year until I have to do this again.
God, please help me stay focused on the true meaning of this holiday season; and the needs of my young, confused kids.
Hi, I'm Sue
Welcome to my blog! I served twenty-one honorable years on active duty, living a double life of capability and accomplishment in the service while enduring brutality and abusiveness in my twenty-one year oppressive marriage. Today I'm happily married and have three children who are my inspiration and motivation.
My goal is to help combat the lies of abusers with the truth of God. I hope you find my words to be healing and helpful through your own life experiences.
Being separated from my abusive husband didn't make me a domestic violence survivor. It surely didn't release me from the grip of his brainwashing control and the innate power he had on me.
Read the full raw story in my new book, Rock Bottom and Faithless.